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Leafs star Auston Matthews finishes season with 69 goals

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Auston Matthews won't be joining the NHL's 70-goal club this season.

The Maple Leafs sniper was held in check for the second straight night Wednesday in Toronto's 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, finishing the schedule with 69 goals in 81 games.

Matthews was also unable to find the back of the net in Tuesday's 5-2 defeat to the Florida Panthers after scoring 10 times in his previous eight contests.

The 26-year-old centre was looking to become just the ninth player in league history to reach the 70-goal plateau alongside Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux, Phil Esposito, Teemu Selanne, Alexander Mogilny, Jari Kurri and Bernie Nicholls.

Selanne and Mogilny are the last two players to register 70 goals when both hit 76 in 1992-93.

Another significant milestone was eclipsed Wednesday when Lightning star Nikita Kucherov became just the fifth player to pick up 100 assists in a campaign after setting up Brayden Point on a second-period power play. He joins Gretzky, Lemieux, Bobby Orr and Connor McDavid, who registered his 100th assist on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2024.

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